Some boat owners go overboard when it comes to cleaning their vessels. They seem to spend more time on scrubbing and cleaning their boat than actually fishing or cruising in them! Though it’s important to keep a watercraft clean, ... read more there’s no use of spending long backbreaking hours to keep it looking like new. The best way to go is to equip yourself with the right products/tools and clean your boat efficiently on a regular basis. The following tips will definitely help you in protecting your valuable recreational asset and preserving its good looks from harsh marine environment.
Use Right Cleaning Equipment Before choosing your cleaning equipment/products, you should consider the type of vessel you have and its composition. Right tools will help you in cleaning your boat in a perfect way. Choose a long and sturdy cleaning brush that will rid of stubborn grime, dirt, and salt, without damaging the gel coat or finish of your boat. Long brushes help you reach various hard-to-clean areas without too much bending, thereby eliminating any strain on your arms and back. Avoid brushes that are too rough, as they can damage your boat’s finish.
Usually, a brush with medium-soft bristles is just fine for the job. Whatever cleaning brush you select, make sure its bristles are made of material that is strong and durable enough to withstand repeated use, cleaning agents, sun exposure and salt water. Besides a durable scrub brush, you should also have other necessities, such as a large bucket, mop, washing pads, chamois cloths, sponges, and towels. Store all of them at same place so you won’t have to search for them.
It’s Time to Start Cleaning!
Once you have the right cleaning equipment and soap, it’s time to start cleaning your boat. Before touching the hull with a scrub brush or applying any cleaning agent, make sure you rinse your boat off completely. Avoid scrubbing a dry boat or you’ll risk damaging its gel coat or finish. When cleaning, work from the top down. Use a sponge soaked up in a soap solution, rinse, and scrub sections of your watercraft at a time.
If you apply water and soap to your entire boat at a time, its portions may dry up before you actually get around them for scrubbing. If you have an outboard powered boat, you should also rinse off its motor and lower drive unit, motor mounts and prop area, where dirt and corrosive salt tends to accumulate. For washing the deck, you can use the same scrub brush and cleaning solution you use for your hull. Avoid using bleach on your deck as it is a toxic substance and harmful to the environment.
Aside from quality boat cleaners and boat waxes, use highly absorbent soft drying cloths because they soak up water without scratching or stripping. Drying mops or Chamois cloths made of Chamois material are best choices. You can avoid spotting if you dry off your vessel immediate after washing and rinsing.
Choose Eco-friendly Soap For cleaning your boat thoroughly without too much effort, you should pick a soap that’s tough on grime, dirt, fish blood, and salt, yet is eco-friendly. Instead of using soap that you use for washing dishes at home, you should choose a biodegradable soap with a neutral pH factor. If you use your boat in salt water, it’s important to use fresh water and soap to remove all of the corrosive salt build up because it can even eat away your boat. Use a cleaning product as per written instructions regarding its dilution and general usage. Avoid using “super concentrated” detergents as they can strip away and damage your boat’s finish when they’re left for an extended period of time. You can get quality boat cleaners and boat waxes from iboats.com at attractive rates.
Waxing Your Boat Once your boat has completely dried, you can apply a high quality wax and buff to protect the fiberglass and achieve the shine. Though it’s not necessary to wax your boat each time you wash it, you should do that at least twice during the season to protect against the impurities and elements and to preserve its luster. Use a high quality carnauba wax and apply several coats.
If you don’t wax your boat on a regular basis, you can also use a restore wax. Apply this wax using a sponge applicator by moving it gently in a circular motion. This wax will dry out and “haze” within 15-20 minutes. Don’t rush to wipe it until it has hazed. Now buff your boat using an electric buffer. It’s the easiest option. You can also remove it manually using a scratch free towel.
Regardless of which of these methods you use, you will have to first manually buff out areas near rub rails, or areas where your electric buffer won’t reach. Apply firm, but minimum pressure. It’s best to rub in circles, and rub it “into” the craft in eight to ten second intervals. Now wipe off all excess wax. Go on to exposed stainless steel and cleaning rub rails, and then finally to the wood areas.
Cleaning Perspex and Glass Windows A simple vinegar and water solution works well. You can also use a glass cleaner, which is readily available on iboats.com. If Perspex and glass are heavily scratched, not much can be done in terms of repairs. The best course of action would be to guard against the damage by applying a polish of clear silicon spray to the boat windows and then cleaning them with non-abrasive, soft cloth.
Clean your Stainless Steel and Chrome There are several quality sealants and cleaners available for keeping the stainless steel and chrome on your boat bright, shiny and protected. Once you apply a light film on all your bright-work, you should let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Now wipe off using a clean cloth. After cleaning, you can apply quality protectant/ wax sealer for creating a protective barrier against the elements. If your vessel's metalwork is oxidized or pitted, you can use a metal wax and leave it on the area overnight. In the morning, you can clean it using a fine bronze wool. This process, when repeated several times can make a considerable difference.
Caring for Teak on your Boat If you have teak on your boat, regular care is necessary to maintain its original vibrant color and protect the wood. You should varnish your teak regularly. You can also wash it with a mild detergent and apply some teak oil.
Vinyl Upholstery You can clean your boat’s upholstery using a damp cloth. This will remove, salt, dirt, and grime. Follow this by applying quality vinyl protectant/cleaners and again wipe off the surface. Once the upholstery is free of grime and dirt, apply a light spray of furniture grade polish and wipe it off with a clean cloth. If some mildew stains have formed, you can use a brush with medium-soft bristles and scrub with ammonia and water mixture (5 parts water to one part ammonia). Follow this with a freshwater rinse, and dry. You can repeat the process if necessary. read less